Day 12: Ruthie

Day 12: Ruthie

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

-Colossians 3:12-14

At that same meeting, we were also each given another gift, one that I considered FAR more superior to the journals. Eight identical stuffed animals with white scarves wrapped around their necks made their way into view, and the fluffy figures were then passed out to each person in the room. “They’re teddy bears!” Momma said. “Our hope in giving you these gifts is that even when I’m gone, you’ll remember to ‘BEAR’ with one another, as the verse in Colossians 3 says. You sisters have a bond that is unbreakable. Even when you disagree, even when you fight, do not let the Sun go down on your anger.” The Momma and Papa Bears went up on a shelf in the living room while everyone else had free reign to keep or display their bears. As soon as the meeting was over, Tabitha, Priscilla, and I immediately began to search for names. Scilla settled on the name, Beck; Tabitha fancied the name, Ronni. I held my new friend with a smile on my face and told my other sisters proudly, “Her name is Ruthie.”

Just like Ruth was to Naomi in the Bible, Ruthie was and is a loyal companion. Ten years later, the Momma and Papa Bears still sit on the shelf, looking as good as new. Most of my sisters’ bears still maintain a decent level of fluff. But Ruthie on the other hand? That bear has been through thick and thin with me. She no longer adorns the white scarf. God only knows where that thing is. Her right arm is completely devoid of stuffing. Lola tried several times to stitch her up and fix her. Her coat, which used to be as light and fluffy as those two bears in the living room, is now matted and worn. She’s got this almost sad look on her face like she’s been through a lot, which, being owned by a young girl, she most certainly has.

My sisters always used to say to me, “The fact that she’s tattered just means that she’s been loved…A LOT.” And that’s true. I slept with Ruthie every single night (except on the nights when I felt guilty that she was an obvious favorite, and I slept with one of my other beloved stuffed animals). There was a lullaby I used to listen to on repeat, my favorite on the old album, called, “Lullaby for Teddy.” Whenever I couldn’t sleep, I wrapped my arms around Ruthie and closed my eyes so she would, too, as the song said. Ruthie’s been with me on several vacations; she was always my first pick to be my companion, except on trips I was too afraid I’d leave her somewhere. With my track record of leaving things behind, it’s amazing that I haven’t lost her yet. I was proud to bring Ruthie everywhere, no matter how tattered she was. Ruthie was also there for me through the grief bursts. Her sad eyes comforted me as she looked back into my own, her body was limp and weak from all the tight hugs, and her fur has held several of my tears. Out of all the gifts and things my Momma gave us to remember her by, Ruthie was the best one to give a grieving child. Even as a grieving teenager, there is still such comfort in a friend who has been there for you for more than half your life to help you deal with loss, even if she is just stuffing. When I look into Ruthie’s sad eyes, I remember to always bear with my sisters, to never be afraid to just break down and cry every once in a while, to always hold onto my Momma, and to never forget that I’ll see her again someday.

-Sara Joy

~ by Sara Espiritu on December 25, 2019.

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